January 9th, 2012

The T's naming rights deal

Like many transit authorities across the country, the T is struggling to close a budget deficit. The agency said this week it needs to raise fares and pare back service to erase the $161 deficit, but it is also exploring ways to bring in new revenue. Selling naming rights is one option (others include selling ads on the T’s website and hawking T merchandise online), but some are objecting to the commercialization of public spaces.

Commercial Alert, an offshoot of the Washington-based consumer protection organization Public Citizen, recently sent a letter to Richard Davey, the Massachusetts secretary of transportation, urging him to block the naming rights project.

“Not everything should be for sale,” wrote Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, “Please help us to stop the spread of commercialism into more of our public spaces.”

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